It was International Dance Day yesterday and from various events organised to mark the day, I had chance to witness one at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. It was a wonderful event to mark the landmark day. This day not just makes you celebrate the spirit of dance but also helps you learn new developments in performing arts and know about new artists. I had tried to be regular at such events for some years now.
In 1982 the Dance Committee of International Theatre Institute (ITI) founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April. This was the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The intention of the International Dance Day Message was to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance. You can’t agree more.
Every year a message from an outstanding choreographer or dancer is circulated throughout the world. The author of the message is selected by the International Dance Committee of ITI and the Executive Council of ITI. The message is translated into numerous languages and circulated globally.
The programme, that I witnessed was organised by Utsav Music and the events of the evening were Bharatanatyam solo by Dakshina Vaidyanathan; Kathak solo by Diva Goswami Dikshit; Odissi duet by Vrinda Chadha and Vinod Kevin Bachan; Kuchipudi group by the disciples of Raja Radha Reddy; Mohiniyattam solo by Alexandra Vodopyanova; Sattriya by Jhilmill Pathak; Duet Chaau by Rakesh Sai Babu with Priya Srinivasan; Russian Ballet solo by Nikolina Nikoleski and Vilasini Natyam by Purvadhanashree.
Odissi dancer Vrinda Chadha is based in Delhi and is disciple of Padmashree Ranjana Gauhar. While, Vinod Kevin Bachan was born and brought up in Trinidad in Caribbean. He started dance by learning Kuchipudi for seven years in Trinidad. A sudden encounter with an Odissi Dancer and a chance of Indian government’s scholarship brought him close to Odissi. He came to Bhubaneswar in 2009 and finally to Delhi in 2013 to train under Guru Ranjana Gauhar.
Bharat Natyam dancer Purvadhanashree, disciple of dance legend Swapna Sundari is now well known for her revival to the Vilasini Natyam. I have seen her few performances and she was again at her best with a small piece of her dance.
Also read: Divinity of Bharatnatyam by Purvadhanashree
Also read: Vilasini Natyam – Dance of the Devadasis
Diva Goswami Dikshit, disciple of Guru Munna Shukla was excellent in her Kathak performance. Divya has been initiated into the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak under the guidance of Guru Yogini Gandhi. Divya has also established ‘Divyakala’, a creative venture showcasing her versatility as a dancer, teacher, artist, dramatist and creative therapist.
A dance collaboration featuring Mayurbhnaj Chaau and Bharatnatyam by Rakesh Sai Babu with Priya Srinivasan was one of the stand-out performance of the evening. They mesmerised the audience by their perfect harmony of two different dance formats in a same dance. Rakesh Sai Babu was born to a Royal ancestry of renowned Mayurbhanj Chhau performers. He is grandson of Guru Anant Charan Saibabu and has successfully carried forward the legacy of this traditional dance. While, Priya Srinivasan studied Bharatnatyam under Guru Leela Samson and completed post-graduation from Kalakshetra. She now teaches Bharatnatyam at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi and her own dance school.
Russian dancer Alexandra Vodopyanova also impressed the audience by her solo Mohiniyattam. Alexandra had a journey from Irish Dance to Mohiniyattam and in between going through learning of Odissi and Kathak as well. She is now an accomplished Mohiniyattam dancer and teacher and has given many solo performances.
Jhilmill Pathak gave a scintillating performance of Sattriya dance. Sattriya represents the classical dance tradition of Assam. This major dance tradition is said to be created by saint scholar Sankaradev. This is a Krishna-centred dance drama. It mostly comprises of a one act play commonly known as ‘Ankiya Nat’. Jhilmill Pathak has been disciple of Guru Bhabananda Barbayan.
There were couple of more performances, which I had to miss. Honestly speaking, such events also help me shake some dust off my cameras and help me check my camera handling capabilities.
Have you been witness to any programme with an array of such different dance formats? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
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